Whatever else the Jesus Story may mean, it must involve our response to “every stranger” as if they were “refugees from Bethlehem,” holy families in our midst.
I am forced to ask: what am I promoting as gospel right now that later generations will document, repudiate and apologize for? I can’t repent of the racism of my Baptist ancestors if I won’t repent of racism in myself and my own segment of American culture right now.
Investigative reporting by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram exposed widespread sexual abuse among Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastors. It should be another wake-up call to all religious communities across the theological and denominational spectrum.
What draws us back to Merton 50 years after his death is his haunting ability to unite the transcendent and the worldly, the inner and outer life with wondrous prose, occasional poetry and enduring spiritual insight.
Firearm violence is more than a national problem; it a national disgrace that increasingly defines our national identity, our common humanity and our ‘witness’ in the world. If history is any indication, little or nothing will change in the land of the free and the home of the targeted.
I kept hearing the sound of white people clapping and chanting “Lock HER up!”, “Lock HIM up!” (referencing Hillary Clinton and George Soros even after bombs mailed to them were found), and “CNN sucks!” (also after a bomb was found). And clapping their agreement for rhetorical images that include “enemies of the people,” “immigrant invaders” and a “low IQ” black woman.
Learning dissent is never easy. One person’s prophet is another’s anti-Christ. One person’s conscience is another’s bigotry. Sometimes dissent can get you damned. Sometimes (like now?) silence can too.
Twenty-first century humanity is eating, drinking, marrying and unmarrying, driving, flying, breathing and buying while planet earth decomposes before our very eyes. The fate that befell Noah’s generation seems headed right at us. This time, however, there’s no ark. It is a planetary crisis from which no one can escape.
Across four decades, listening to students (“those who are taught”) has provoked me to action and insight I might otherwise have dodged. When students have moved classes from instruction to provocation, I’ve not only been awakened, I’ve often been reborn.